Person NameAlison; Sir; Archibald (1792-1867); Advocate and writer
EpithetAdvocate and writer
ActivityArchibald Alison was born in Kenley, Shropshire, in 1792, the son of a clergyman. The family moved to Edinburgh in 1800, and he began studies at Edinburgh University in 1805. He had been intended for banking, but his father recognised his abilities early on and instead he began legal studies in 1810. He was called to the Bar in 1814 and was appointed Advocate Depute in 1822. This was a busy job, and put an end to his favourite pastime of continental travel: he used his journeys to pick up all kinds of information, including material for his opposition of the theories of Malthus. In 1825 he married Elizabeth Glencairn, daughter of Colonel Tytler: they had two sons with distinguished army careers. At the change of administration in 1830, he found himself out of work and turned to writing for a living, working on history and on an account of Scottish criminal law. In 1835 he was appointed Sheriff of Lanarkshire and moved from Edinburgh to Possil House, near Glasgow. Again he applied himself strenuously to his new post, particularly in the putting down of industrial unrest from 1837 to 1858. By now he was a popular author in several fields. He was elected Rector of Marischal College, Aberdeen, in 1845, and of Glasgow University in 1851. He was created a baronet in 1852, and died in Lanarkshire in 1867.
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